A total of 68,231 Connecticut residents enrolled for a second year with Connecticut’s insurance exchange and 41,864 signed up for the first time in 2015.
That means in the second year, 110,095 enrolled with one of the four private health insurance plans offered through Access Health CT. Another 442,508 residents were enrolled with Medicaid because their income was less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, chair of the board of Access Health CT, said the goal of the exchange and the Affordable Care Act is to make sure residents have health insurance. She said it doesn’t matter whether they receive it through a commercial carrier or the federal government.
“Our goal is to get people insured. If they deserve to be on Medicaid that’s what we should be doing,” Wyman said. “Our goal was to get the uninsured, insured.”
She said a survey Access Health CT plans to conduct in the next few months is expected to show how much progress the exchange has made at lowering the uninsured rate in the state.
In 2012, the Kaiser Family Foundation found there were about 286,000 uninsured residents in Connecticut. That’s about 7.9 percent of the state’s population. In 2014, the first year of the exchange, state officials estimated based on a survey that the uninsured rate had gotten down to 4 percent.
On Monday, Wyman said the goal is to lower the rate to 2 percent, but it’s too soon to say if the state will reach that goal this year.
In 2014, the exchange enrolled 78,713 residents in one of three commercial insurance plans and 129,588 in Medicaid. Since enrollment in Medicaid is allowed all year long, that number climbed to 323,522 by Nov. 15, 2014, when open enrollment began.
Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh said exchange officials haven’t decided yet, but they may do a special open enrollment period in April to give those just discovering they will pay a tax penalty an opportunity to purchase insurance. Most individuals may discover they owe the penalty when they prepare their 2014 tax return.
“The special enrollment is for individuals who may realize during tax season that they fell into that category,” Wadleigh said. And “they’re finding out for the first time they have to pay a penalty.”
He said Access Health CT just needs to figure out from an operations perspective all the things it needs to do to make the special enrollment period happen.